Rapid City looking to alleviate homeless issue in Memorial Park

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender is looking to alleviate an issue regarding the homeless and the Memorial Park bandshell.

Memorial Park BandshellThe mayor says that over the past year and a half, the bandshell has become a place where the homeless camp out. This has led to damage to the structure and some of its features.

“Which is problematic in a city park where young families are wanting to take their children to play on the playground,” Mayor Allender explained. “And they’re seeing people standing around in groups, maybe arguing, maybe passed out on the sidewalk, maybe drinking.”

Every Friday afternoon, a group of volunteers gather at the bandshell to distribute meals to anyone in need. While that practice is not illegal, the mayor is looking to come to an agreement on how to make the area safer for event-goers.

The mayor, however, started receiving negative emails and comments from the volunteers accusing him wrongly of wanting to remove all homeless from the area.

Mayor Allender says he’s planning on meeting with the group’s organizer to come up with a plan that satisfies all parties as best as possible.

“Ideally, I would hope that we can relocate this weekly event slightly to be able to safeguard that city park and safeguard the audience that is coming and going from events at the monument,” he explained.

A meeting date has not yet been scheduled.

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